Caruso: Les Rameaux (The Palms) by Jean-Baptiste Faure. Recorded December 15, 1913.Caruso recorded this three times; one was never issued, the 1914 recording was issued as Victor 88459, and this one was held back and finally issued as RCA 14744 with La Procession on the flip side. Gaetano Scognamiglio conducting the orchestra. Matrix#C-14201-2. RCA 14744. Transfer by Bob Varney.
March 20, 2010 Subject:
A Timely Recording
As the Christian liturgical year is nearing Palm Sunday, March 28, "Les Rameaux" by Jean-Baptiste Faure is a timely song. Although originally composed as a solo, it is most often sung as an anthem that is well-suited to Protestant and Catholic church choirs of all abilities, and it remains a staple (albeit dated) of choral literature.
This recording is an excellent example of perhaps the original intentions of the composer, as Caruso caresses each phrase with careful attention to the text, letting the tempo be expansive and displaying remarkable breath control. Of course, he interpolates the expected (but not written) high notes at the end. It's unfortunate that his penultimate high note is marred his having to obviously step back to avoid "blasting" into the recording horn.
But what is even more remarkable is the sound of this restoration. Never has Caruso's voice been clearer. If we want to have a true idea of this artist's remarkable singing, hearing this recording is a must. It captures overtones in his voice that bring Caruso into a three-dimensional reality--almost as if he's in the room with you. It's even possible to clearly hear and individually identify the accompanying instruments. Best yet, gone are the hisses and scratches to which we've become so accustomed with even the best of restorations until now. The restorer is to be congratulated on his incredible success...and may his process be used throughout the industry. Let's fervently hope for more restorations by this gentleman.